Gratitude, With A Heaping Side Dish of Friendship

It was as delightful and celebratory as it looks: Fun-due.

That’s what I had for Thanksgiving. Well, no, actually we had fondue. (Can you hear the record needle scratching across the LP of tradition?)

But before I started cutting up all the seafood and vegetables for our Un-Turkey dinner, I sat at my computer and thought about the holiday, and my parents, and how much they loved holidays, and worked so hard to make them super-duper memorable specialicious. And in that soft, empty place in my mind, I kept coming back to the internet. No, not because I was doing shopping to get away from my grief, but because I was inspired by how much I found here this year, how many things that I really needed. So I wrote a Thanksgiving Day post to the laydeez of the internet for BlogHer.com. Yeah, that means you. Here it is.

And? Thank you. Truly.

xxoo

Dear Women of the Internets or Blogosphere or Whatever You Call It,

As I sit here in my pajamas on Thanksgiving morning, and think about all that I’m grateful for — in what turned out to be a very challenging and upside-down year for me — my mind keeps drifting back to You. I am so grateful for all of you. And since women as a group have an unfortunate tendency to be pretty hard on themselves, I thought I would write down the reasons why all of you have mattered so much, and changed the way I think of myself, and the world. And for this, I am grateful beyond words. But I will try to put some words together and do my best to express it. Because I think ALL of you should give yourself a few moments today to bask in the warmth of what we do here, and what we put out into the very confused and upside-down world, every day.

1) You dare to tell the truth, even when the truth doesn’t feel good. Every day, I discover a new blog where a woman is struggling with something, be it her child’s illness, her marriage, her finances, her sense of self-worth. I know there are so many people who want to turn their face away from these kinds of ordinary struggles, as if it can keep the struggles from reaching their own lives, but to me it is all company. Company because we have to know that life is hard, as well as that life is filled with joy. We are better prepared to be resilient in the face of life’s challenges if we understand they come to everyone, that “deserve” doesn’t mean much to the fates, that there are no golden people for whom everything goes easily. Thank you for being brave to share these tales of griefs big and small. You help keep us all honestly connected to the fragility of life.

2) You react to everything with compassion. One of the big reasons women feel they can share their struggles, is because they can be pretty sure they will be met with a wall of support and love and friendship. Time and again, we read in the blog comments “You will be fine,” “We are here for you,” “Please know we care.” In some ways we seems to have lost the ability to do this in our own local communities, so crammed are our lives with commitments and hurriedness and tasks to complete. But when our attention is focused online in the minutes our hours we take for ourselves, humanity’s natural tendency to connect and to care comes out again and again and again. And through this we learn to value people who may not be like us, we can see where differences fade into commonalities. What a powerful gift to us all!

3) You are so creative and so generous. Oh, the ideas and inspiration we can stumble across on a casual wander through the links. Every day I find a new idea, a new spark, a piece of beauty, a family memory waiting to be made. You share so many of your own gifts whether it’s crafts or recipes or humor or curating images of beautiful homes. And you give away your secrets! The number of fantastic ideas women are sharing for free is remarkable, and yet, you’re also being smart and selling some of them as well. I can make a faux-fur vest, a headband, some jewelry, wall art, a caramelized pear tart, authentic mole sauce, a pillow, a new way to display family photos and on and on and on. I’ll never believe that hopping from link to link on the web is a waste of time; I consider it an investment in my imagination. Thank you for feeding it every day.

4) You express delight. I will never tire of the many expressions of joy and congratulations and FTWs and laughter and high fives and “oooooh!”s and “check this out!”s. Life is meant to be filled with small joys, and that’s evident every day in the Twitter feed we all swim in. And no matter what it is that you’re enthusiastic about, you can find your crowd who shares the same passion.

5) You mean it. You really, really mean it. Whatever it is that each of us puts out there (out here?) every day, it’s obvious that it is all deeply personal, deeply genuine, and connected to a living,┬ábreathing person. So much for the dehumanization of life because of the internet. I’ve found the opposite: Since I started spending most of my time online, for work and for play, I have made at least 47 truly close, keep-’em-for-life friends. (And yes, of course I’m talking about you.) I have discovered at least 465 other people I care about deeply, even though I may not be a presence on their blogs. I have learned 6,214 unbelievably interesting pieces of information. And I wrote approximately 42 posts about my own upside-down life which were met with love, support and care, even though I hadn’t met many (or most!) of those people in person. If that isn’t something to be grateful for, I don’t know what is.

So today, when I am missing my parents and missing my family traditions and also, yes, feeling grateful for the family I do have, for my brothers and my son and my boyfriend and my kind ex-husband, I am counting on more than 10 fingers why I’m so happy to have all of you, in my life, in my feed, in my Twitter stream, and on my side. I bow to you with gratitude, and hope that you will take a minute to feel proud for the creative, compassionate, resilient, giving world you build with your own words and presence, every single day.

About stacy

I am a writer, author, mother, former magazine editor (last at Redbook), optimist, and, above all, a searcher. I'm still searching for whom I'm really meant to be, after a series of very jarring losses: a divorce and house disaster that led to a book (Falling Apart In One Piece); a week after the book came out, my parents suddenly fell gravely ill, I resigned from my job (and, apparently, my career), my son went into crisis, my parents then rapidly died four weeks apart, and my boyfriend (who had moved in with me and my son just weeks before the book came out) began the painful journey of realizing we couldn't make our relationship work (that story unfolded on this blog). Since then I've been trying to figure out what's next. Or, in other words, how to fill in the blanks.
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10 Responses to Gratitude, With A Heaping Side Dish of Friendship

  1. I knew I’d love your words. Every single one of them. Happy Blessings to you. You give them freely all of them time. xoxo

  2. Cathy says:

    I could not agree more. I recently “came out” on my blog – struggling with personal items that I’ve kept hidden for so long – and the care and compassion of this community has helped fill the hole of grief inside my heart. I keep going back to that post and reading and re-reading the comments. I am inspired and feel hope because I know that with people like these, I will also have someone to lean on for support – and they will be there – at the ready, always willing to listen and help. Happy Thanksgiving to you.

  3. Sherri says:

    You nailed it, Stacy. I had no idea when I forged ahead and started my wee-little-blog almost two years ago that I wasn’t just finding a home for my words, but a home with friends. Real friends. We laugh, cry, support, eat, eat some more, drink some wine, and then laugh again.

    And it’s awesome. I loved this…

  4. Love this group of wonderful, outspoken, honest women – sharing their stories. What a difference it makes.

  5. –Dear, Stacy,
    I started my website after my sister’s murder a year ago in her dedication…but it’s become so much more, so much larger.
    It’s become a platform for release, non-judgement, & transformation. It’s become my Prozac in a way, my therapy! It’s become a place where I can scream Kay’s story…..
    ~~And I’ve met a strong group of women who have told me their stories & supported me in my mourning, lamenting, bitching, yelling, & crying.
    Not sure how I stumbled over here, but sooo glad I did. You are so right about the blogging community…. xx

  6. Bravo. Ditto. All that. I didn’t have this in my life last year, and I had no idea how rich coming here would make my life this year.

  7. Emily says:

    I just found your blog and so far this is the only post I’ve read, but it resonated with me so much I wanted to tell you: yes! Yes, that’s exactly the gratitude I’ve been feeling. You said it so well —

    — Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. This is such an awesome post and I can relate completely! I have time and time again been blown away by the sheer magitude of caring, smart, funny, introspective, and wise women I have come across on the blogosphere. I truly think the world is and will only be more so, a better place for our being able to connect and share so much more easily now because of this medium. I read somewhere once that Ghandi said women will be the one’s to change the world, and nothing has made me believe that more than blogging. ….Giving thanks for you now!

  9. Kyran says:

    Late to the table, as always, but arriving with open arms, and gratitude for these words. xoxo

    Kyran

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